Santos-Dumont

Cartier’s Classic Pilot Watch Now Offers a Slim Mechanical Movement


March 24, 2020 Watches By

Editor’s Note: Watches & Wonders (formerly SIHH) and Baselworld 2020 are canceled but that hasn’t stopped watch brands large and small from debuting their new wares. To stay on top of this year’s best new watch releases, visit our tag page.

At first glance, little about Cartier’s latest version of its Santos-Dumont watch indicates anything new or different from existing versions. But what is new about it will make a huge difference to Cartier fans that have been attracted to the Santos’s looks and history: the watch now features a slim, manually wound mechanical movement.

Reasonably or not, many people poo-poo quartz and prefer mechanical watches, even if they are otherwise identical. The new Cartier Santos-Dumont XL with its manually wound movement isn’t actually identical, though, to any previous version: it’s XL. As seen in other lines from Cartier, the “extra large” designation doesn’t indicate a watch that’s Breitling-sized, however: While a bit larger than its quartz counterparts, the new Santos-Dumont XL remains in Cartier’s elegant comfort zone at 33.9mm wide and only 7.5mm thick.

Manually wound movements like the one used in the Santos-Dumont XL from Richemont Group sibling brand Piaget help keep a watch slim, and slim cases help keep watches ever more comfortable and ergonomic. This will be welcome news for people who found the even larger automatic Santos (sans “Dumont”) versions too chunky. The new models come in three versions: stainless steel, steel with a gold bezel, and gold.

The Santos-Dumont watch has an utterly distinctive look and unbeatable history that have made it an important fixture in Cartier’s modern collection. While these new manually wound watches aren’t Cartier’s most entry-level pieces, the steel version, at least, should offer a relatively accessible option. Prices are not yet confirmed, but availability is slated for Summer 2020.

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Zen Love

Zen Love is Gear Patrol’s watch writer. He avoids the snooty side of the watch world, and seeks out food in NYC that resembles what he loved while living in Asia for over a decade.

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